13: Syncing with ServiceNow: Why a knowledge-sharing culture can be a competitive differentiator

Mar 6, 2023

A 2021 Deloitte study found knowledge management (KM) to be one of the top three issues influencing company success. According to the survey, 75% of organizations reported that creating and preserving knowledge across evolving workforces would be critical to their success over the next 12 to 18 months.

This is clearly a competitive advantage. Yet only 9% of surveyed organizations felt prepared to address KM. Blame that on the sudden shift to a remote workforce.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, traditional views of how to handle knowledge are changing. The new environment champions an iterative, knowledge-sharing culture that fosters a repeatable content creation and transfer process. An intentional environment like this is sustainable only when employees and processes are front and center.

Host: Andy Whiteside
Co-host: Kristin McDonald

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Andy Whiteside: Everyone and welcome to episode 13 of sinking with service. Now i’m your host, Andy White, so I’ve got Kristen Mcdonnell with me today. Well, first of all you say this. It’s February 20, seventh, 2023 at

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Andy Whiteside: have to remember to say the date because these things get all out of whack, and then I have to go back and find. Figure out the dates sometime. Kristen, how’s it going?

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Kristin McDonald: Doing? Well, how are you doing?

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Andy Whiteside: I’m doing good? Kristen is a solutions architect with zinc and kristen. I hear you guys are busy. we are. Yes, we’ve been keeping very busy. We’ve got our internal go live. We’ve been building some new products for customers and lots of lots of calls with our existing customers. What! What are you most excited about that you’re working on.

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Kristin McDonald: We are working on our service now as a service product, and I am super excited about that, because service now does have a minimum buy in for your own instance. But this will allow small companies who can’t afford that buy in to actually come on our instance and utilize our service. Now, so we can support them, even if they couldn’t afford it. Normally.

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Andy Whiteside: How

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how small is small

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Andy Whiteside: small could be One person could be 10 people it could be. It’s really usually up to about 30 or 40 users is where we see that breakpoint, but it really depends on the products they’re looking at. So let me try to explain what I know about our managed service instance, and that’s where we have an instant we use for our own business needs. We’re able to leverage the work that’s gone into building that instance and clone it off so that a a company could come in and use our license pool

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Andy Whiteside: and the work we’ve already put into it, so that the upfront heavy lifting of going and getting into a service. Now, environment, whether you’re a small customer meeting customer. Even a large customer kind of gets obfuscated. And all of a sudden, customers who couldn’t adopt service now can.

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Kristin McDonald: Exactly. Yeah. And because we’re implementing best practices based on our years of experience working with service. Now, the upfront implementation is also less than it would be if you were going with your own instance. So it is a multi tenant model. So that’s something a little bit different about the as a service option. But yeah. It’s great for small to mid-size businesses. Yeah, even for someone larger. I’m understanding I could be wrong that you could eventually take our multi tenant instance, and spin off your own instance.

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Andy Whiteside: Oh, absolutely. In fact, service now has a tool set that you can use to do just that, to spin off a domain into its own instance. So it’s become pretty common. Actually. Yup.

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Kristin McDonald: Well, that’s something to be excited about, and I I can tell by the way you’re saying it, that that’s something you thought you thought for a while is is necessary, and is going to make service now in within reach of customers who always thought they couldn’t afford it

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Andy Whiteside: exactly. It brings a lot of power and functionality to them.

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Andy Whiteside: What percentage of the upfront set up is done and ready to go?

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Kristin McDonald: Hmm. It really depends on the customers requirements for really small organizations. Usually they go pretty close to out of box, so I would say the vast majority of the implementation is already done upfront. There’s always going to be a few tweaks here and there, you know, some customizations on a drop down, a need, an extra field here, or an extra report or notification there, but really, truly, out of box is sufficient for many small businesses. Yep.

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Andy Whiteside: So, Fred Freddie, I come on Friday, Fred said. 80% is that you? He does an accurate number.

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Kristin McDonald: That sounds about right? Yup.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, okay.

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Kristin McDonald: Alright. Well, let me share my screen with you. So you know what we’re talking about today. You brought with you today a blog from a Channing booy from february seventeenth of 2023, and the title is why a no? Why, a knowledge, hyphen.

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Andy Whiteside: sharing culture can be a competitive differentiator. Let’s let’s jump down into the Intro section here. What? What’s this? What’s this blog about? And why did you think it would be a good one to talk about today?

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Kristin McDonald: So this blog is about the knowledge Management product from service now, and it it’s a product that a lot of times gets just kind of shuffled to the side, but it’s it’s so important. It’s a part of any it organization, but it’s also for for customer facing implementations.

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Kristin McDonald: You can share these knowledge bases with any, user whether it’s public or internal. So there’s just so much value here, so much value in the knowledge management product. And it really doesn’t get talked about a lot. Yeah.

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Kristin McDonald: I did not even know they had this. There you go, and I, as a small business owner, need this. So this is this is another workflow within it, and outside of it, including customers, that a company that’s using service now for that platform can bring into the mix of offerings, both internally and externally.

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Kristin McDonald: Exactly. And it’s considered based platform. So it comes with any product that you choose to implement on service now. Yep.

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Andy Whiteside: So you by his service now owns this Exactly. Okay, and what I guess always. I just think we’ve got another internal project. Never in sorry First, after the Intro. The next section talks about creating a knowledge sharing program.

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Andy Whiteside: What does that involve?

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Kristin McDonald: Yeah. So in order to implement knowledge management, you really have to take a a prescriptive approach to it. So it’s not. Just let’s throw all of our articles into the knowledge base and hope it gets used. You You really want to create a governance structure around your knowledge base, and that’s what the program is all about, really

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taking some time to work through what that approach should look like, and tailoring it to the customer again. We we get back to that tailoring option it’s not a one size fits all. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, I hope this is going to make more sense. But of course me as a you know, typical dude. Right? I thought I just don’t it all in there, and it would magically configure and get it all available. I think that’s what the one drive is for.

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Kristin McDonald: Absolutely. Yes, and and you can certainly do that. It’s one way to begin. But you’ll get a lot more value out of it if you really take the time to work through a few of the different options that are available with service. Now’s knowledge management. Yeah. So it sounds like in this article. They’re laying out 3 steps to knowledge, management with success. The first one is governance. What do they mean?

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Kristin McDonald: Yeah. So first off you. You want leadership support on any technical initiative that’s really going to drive adoption and help identify the goals that you’re trying to achieve with that particular project. With knowledge management. You can have a few different goals, you know it. It could be cost savings. It could be time to resolve tickets. It, it could be employees satisfaction or customer satisfaction. So if you understand the goals that you’re going after, you can really tailor the approach to meet those goals.

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Kristin McDonald: In addition, you don’t just want to implement a knowledge base without having ownership of that knowledge base, because articles can get stale over time. So you really want a governance structure in place to identify. Who should be creating these articles? How are we going to approve them? Who says Yes, to publishing? How do we retire them or reinvigorate them after some time. So you want a government structure there to manage it and maintain it over time.

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Andy Whiteside: What I like, where you started when you said executive sponsorship. And you know this is something that feels good to set up at the beginning, but it’s useless. 6 months later, if nobody is keeping an eye on it, and by default there probably looks like a call center to most organizations when really it should be viewed the opposite. But

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Kristin McDonald: having that executive sponsors, that executive sponsor that sees the value in it for the rest of your organization is probably pretty key. Absolutely. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Okay, next section to have here is implementation. Yeah, I think that’s probably important.

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Kristin McDonald: Absolutely. So again, once we identify the goals we’re going after. Then we can really tailor the implementation to those goals, you know, for some smaller companies. Maybe they want all of their engineers to be able to publish articles. You don’t have to go through approvals just automatically push it out. We trust you guys.

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Kristin McDonald: And for other organizations that’s just not gonna work. You may have quite a few different teams trying to create these knowledge based articles. You really want your subject matter experts to review them for accuracy before you actually accept that. So identifying the correct workflows there. Going back to the possibility for staleeness of these articles, you also want to have a a workflow around retirement of the articles and refreshing.

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Kristin McDonald: and also just making sure all of your knowledge is incorporated. So we can sync to external sources of data as well as internal sources. We can import word articles. If you’ve got things out on sharepoint in word box, Those can be easily imported into service now. So there’s quite a few aspects to the implementation piece. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, I love how this is talking about how you can’t just let the technology guys go. Wow, with this, you gotta have the the technology is just an enabler of what the goal of the tool is not the technology guys, you know, laying it out there, and everybody is expected to follow, because that typically fails

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Kristin McDonald: this business that I want to be told they want. They want to have influence on what gets set up. Oh, absolutely especially because these teams are the ones that are going to be maintaining the knowledge base. So you have to make sure you’re tailoring the the implementation to their specific needs for sure. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: right? That the Third Section says, operationalize What’s that mean?

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Kristin McDonald: Yes, so it it talks here about jumping into AI and machine learning. Those are buzz words in the industry. I I think everybody really wants to jump into that right off the bat. But if you don’t have your base

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Kristin McDonald: really well structured it. It’s not going to do you any good to have that AI and machine learning in place. So you really want to get those fundamentals in place. You want to make sure that you’re pulling

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Kristin McDonald: feedback from your users that you’re capturing the correct metrics on these knowledge based articles. You’ve got your processes and your workflows clearly defined, and that you’re monitoring it over time. You you want to make sure that you’re getting the value out of your knowledge base that you’re actually expecting and and looking to obtain. So until you’ve got those fundamentals in place, going after some of these kind of cool, sounding things like AI and machine learning it’s just not going to do much good.

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Kristin McDonald: However, once you actually get to that point. Service now does have those AI machine learning capabilities available for you. So yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: So it’s not like the chat gpt where I just tell it. I want to build it and maintains it for me.

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We’re not quite there just yet, but seem to be getting there. So Chat Gpt is definitely a forerunner. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: So I don’t know. Can. I can hear that background noise. I’m. I’m in my office. I have my demo lap server sitting over here, and apparently they’re They’re struck down the building, and they must have turned the power on and off. And so everything just started rebooting over.

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Kristin McDonald: No, I sure don’t hear it, so I think you’re good.

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Andy Whiteside: so help help bring this home. What what is it that’s so powerful about these knowledge sharing?

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Andy Whiteside: I’ll use the word tools, but solutions that helps. What do you think the business value is?

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Kristin McDonald: So? I I think it’s really particularly important for growing companies for a few different reasons. First off you’ve got these engineers who have been working on these platforms and these products, you know, forever. Today they’ve got all of this tribal knowledge in their head, and you can’t grow with tribal knowledge in people’s heads. Right? So getting a good knowledge base, a solid knowledge base in place is gonna really help. Get some of that out of your subject matter expert heads and onto paper, so that you can grow your organization. You can really grow your

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Kristin McDonald: teams and expand as your business grows so that’s one major driver here. Another driver has to do with just cost you a call, savings and efficiency, because

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when you’re sharing information between team members. Not only can they help each other get better and improve the the service that they’re providing over time, but also you’ve got these pre defined solutions sitting out there that they can click on and search, and just

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Kristin McDonald: with a click of the mouse button right so as they’re going through and working these tickets. They have access to the information right there at their fingertips. They don’t have to guess about it.

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Kristin McDonald: and it follows: You know the best practices that have been defined by your subject matter experts, so it it really can bring a lot to an organization.

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Andy Whiteside: that platform of service now, and solving yet another use case which allows me to retire. Maybe legacy tools

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Kristin McDonald: absolutely. You can retire legacy tools, and also just going back to the strength of the service now platform because you’ve got ticketing in the same system as knowledge management.

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The 2 can really play off of each other. So you can actually identify. Okay, which tickets have been resolved by this knowledge article. You know how many tickets have been resolved. You can get their feedback right in the tool, as engineers are working the tickets. Is this helpful? Is it out of date? Does it need updating? You know You can capture that with the button click

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as they’re going through and working that

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Kristin McDonald: also in terms of customer facing knowledge bases, You can actually create communities for your customers where they’re sharing information on your website. There you end up with these

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Kristin McDonald: subject matter experts within your customer base. Actually, you can help other customers as well. It’s it’s really an intriguing option. There, I mean. The more you talk about, the more I realize this is something that we need to implement internally, and maybe as a managed service that we can then turn around and

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Kristin McDonald: provide to our clients. So I think we just added another project to the list.

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Kristin McDonald: Actually, I think we do have a few articles going out with this initial release that’s slated to go like tomorrow. So that’s an exciting signing feature. Yeah, well kristen. I think we’ve covered this. I guess i’ll ask you, do you have a and without sharing the customer name, Have you

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had the chance to implement this platform or this workflow before?

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Kristin McDonald: Oh, yes, absolutely most customers who go on itsm. Do you have at least some basic knowledge management Implementation sync is actually for customer service management customers. So it’s a fairly common implementation. It just doesn’t really get the spotlight that it really deserves, I think. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: no, I I I bet it doesn’t. But it should. Every organization. I can’t think of an organization off top of my head that doesn’t need some type of internal and maybe even external knowledge sharing.

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Kristin McDonald: I don’t know. I guess

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Kristin McDonald: you’re probably old enough to remember. The knowledge is power or whatever Tagline and the cartoons we used to watch as kids. Absolutely yeah, okay. Well, Chris and I appreciate you jumping on and cover this topic. Absolutely happy to be here, and we will do it again next week. Thank you. Alright, Thank you. Bye.